Ron Agostini

March 14, 2014

Agostini: Use caution as March Madness begins

The NCAA Tournament begins with the announcement of the brackets on Sunday. Basketball fans await the most exciting three weeks of the year.

Reading time, two minutes:

• It’s the eve of NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday, and I’m feeling under the weather. RPI Fever.
• About the field : No juggernauts. No can’t-misses. No aircraft carriers. Overstocked with good-but-not-great teams.
• TV throws in a timeout every four minutes during the tournament. No excuse for coaches not having enough timeouts at game’s end.
• My favorite players to watch this season: Shabazz Napier, UConn; Doug McDermott, Creighton; and Jabari Parker, Duke.
• Wichita State is 34-0 after reaching the Final Four a year ago. Skeptics still find reasons to question the Shockers. Not yours truly.
• If Duke was 34-0, Dick Vitale would have sculpted another Coach K statue.
• Johnny Dawkins probably needed a tournament bid to stay employed at Stanford. Sounds like he’s got it.
• Love those neon-lit conference tournaments in Las Vegas: The Pac-12, the WAC, the MWC and the WCC.
• More than $200 million will be spent on the NCAA Tournament in Nevada. Which might explain why the Regionals avoid Vegas.
• Were the National Finals Rodeo cowboys flirting with DisneyWorld and Dallas, or were they just working Las Vegas for a better deal? They got the better deal. The rodeo and Sin City is a perfect marriage.
• Nothing important going on at Cal State Stanislaus, other than the men’s basketball team picking up its first-ever CCAA tournament title and first-ever NCAA Division II tournament win.
• Clinton Tremelling’s nothing-but-net triple vaulted the Warriors into the overtime, where they upset Seattle Pacific. His shot may have been the biggest for Stanislaus since it reached the Division III Final Four in 1982.
• Tremelling, a junior from Sutter Creek, shouldn’t have to buy lunch for a while at home ... or in Turlock.
• The 49ers, and especially Turlock’s Colin Kaepernick, owe Stanislaus for gaining revenge on the Northwest.
• The Modesto Junior College men’s basketball tournament will switch dates to Dec. 16-20. Nice change, if it can still draw 16 teams.
• Non-wrestling fans should take note of the twin state titles won last weekend by Modesto brothers Emilio and Israel Saavedra. This was no minor-league feat.
• When public-school basketball teams make deep runs into the playoffs, it’s welcome news. Congrats to the Riverbank boys and Patterson girls.
• Mike Parsons returns to coach football at Modesto Christian. Too bad he can’t be joined by Isaiah Burse.
• Not sure if Jonathan Martin or Blaine Gabbert can help the 49ers, but they didn’t spend much to get them.
• The Martin trade proves it again: He’s weird and off-center, but there’s no more fascinating coach in the NFL than Jim Harbaugh.
• The Rodger Saffold caper this week reminds us that the Raiders struggle at simply knowing who’s healthy and who’s not.
• The Raiders improved by signing Justin Tuck. The defense finally has its own Tuck Rule.
• UCLA, the reigning national baseball champion, meets Cal this weekend in Berkeley. Someone is missing for the Bruins: Infielder Kevin Kramer (Turlock) , a preseason All-America choice, has been shut down. Shoulder injury.
• There’s still a local presence in that UCLA-Cal series: Cal freshman pitcher Daulton Jefferies (Buhach Colony).
• Marco Scutaro’s back injury, after all his problems last season, leaves his future in question with the Giants. Next men up at second base: Joaquin Arias or Ehire Adrianza.
• The 49ers have replaced safety Donte Whitner with Antoine Bethea. Bethea was not penalized last season. That alone is an upgrade over Whitner.
• Just because I’m in a March Madness mood: Christian Maraker, Pacific (2002-06).
• For Cal fans complaining about Mike Montgomery, a gentle reminder: Ex-Bears coach Ben Braun is out at Rice. 63-128 in six seasons.
• I’m off next week – too busy watching hoops.

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